Recently, the Iowa Department of Education reported information about the performance of Iowa schools using a new online system, the Iowa School Performance Profiles. Using this new tool fulfills a federal education law requirement called the 'Every Student Succeeds Act' which is more commonly referred to as ESSA. ESSA is the legislation that replaced 'No Child Left Behind' (NCLB). NCLB raised the awareness of the inequity that exists in public education and increased the accountability measures for schools. There is strong merit in the intended purpose of NCLB. However, the legislation was severely punitive in nature and flawed by design. ESSA continues to establish challenging criteria and performance benchmarks but is designed to provide intensive support and assistance to schools that are designated and reported as a comprehensive or targeted school.
The Iowa School Performance Profiles reports how each Iowa public performed on a set of core accountability measures which currently includes the Iowa Assessments. This information is reported by the overall results of the school as well as by subgroups of students including students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals, special education, English learners, and students from racial and ethnic minority groups. Some schools are designated as in need of comprehensive or targeted support based on how the school performed in the areas described above. Schools who meet or exceed the established criteria are not identified with a label, but a score on the accountability measures is still reported on the site.
I am very pleased to report Shenandoah schools met or exceeded the requirements and was not designated as needing comprehensive or targeted support. Schools that meet or exceed the established criteria are not identified with a label but a score on the accountability measures is still reported on the site.
This report is a very positive reflection on the Shenandoah schools. The staff has been very focused in their effort to provide high-quality instruction, participate in professional learning, and increase student achievement. I also appreciate the efforts of our staff to encourage our students and build positive relationships, support their individual learning needs, get them to school and make sure their nutritional needs are met so students can focus on learning. I commend all of the staff for their effort to make a difference and contribute to the success of our students.
It is always a great feeling to receive reports on the things we do well as a school system. It is also good to recognize and acknowledge there are some areas where we can continue to grow and improve. We will need to dig into the data that has been provided to understand more about where we can continue to make progress.
There are many schools that are designated as either comprehensive or targeted that have staff who are working very hard to make improvements in their schools and have strengths in many areas. The positive news is that under ESSA these schools will not be punished for their challenges, instead they will receive the support in the areas where more growth is necessary. This type of support system is a welcome change for all schools.